Walmart opts out of Bangladesh safety agreement
May 15, 2013
Walmart has confirmed it will not sign up to a legally binding agreement on worker safety and building regulations in Bangladesh supported by retailers including H&M, Zara, Primark, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Next, C&A and several others.
However, the US retail giant has created its own agreement, which it claims goes beyond the current accord that was drafted by labour groups and campaigners.
The company, which also owns the UK’s third biggest supermarket, Asda, said the deal signed by its rivals was “unnecessary to achieve fire and safety goals” and questioned the “governance and dispute-resolution mechanisms”.
Instead, Walmart has agreed its own deal to inspect all 279 factories it uses in Bangladesh within six months, and has promised to publish the findings immediately.
Bosses claim this goes beyond the UNI Global Union and IndustriALL deal, pointing out the agreement requires 65% of inspections instead of 100% inspections taking place and argue its own deal means results are published straight away rather than within 45 days.
However, the Walmart deal is not legally binding, does not require the company to offer financial support for fire and safety regulations and blacklist factories unwilling to comply.
The agreement has been criticised by campaigners as a “business as usual” approach, which fails to address the core problems that led to the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
Sam Maher from Labour Behind the Label, said: “Walmart’s so-called new programme is simply more of the same ineffective auditing that failed to prevent the Rana Plaza disaster, or the deaths of 112 workers at Tazreen, who were producing Walmart goods.
“The changes demanded by the IndustriALL accord, include ensuring that factories are provided with the incentives and investment needed to actually make factories safe and are essential for any real change to occur. What Walmart are demanding is business as usual: a business that has cost lives of over 1,300 workers in the last six months alone.”
Walmart has also refused to clarify whether it sourced clothes from the Rana Plaza building, saying only that it had no “authorised” production at the site.
A statement from Walmart said: “The company, like a number of other retailers, is not in a position to sign the IndustriALL accord at this time.
“While we agree with much of the proposal, the IndustriALL plan also introduces requirements, including governance and dispute resolution mechanisms, on supply chain matters that are appropriately left to retailers, suppliers and government, and are unnecessary to achieve fire and safety goals.”
Several major UK retailers have declined to sign the agreement, including Arcadia group, the company behind brands including Topshop, Bhs and Dorothy Perkins; Debenhams; River Island; Matalan and Peacocks.
However, late on Tuesday night Next, the UK’s second biggest clothing retailer, did agree to sign.
Walmart’s decision leaves George at Asda, the supermarket’s clothing brand, at odds with its own position as a founding member of the Ethical Trading Initiative.
The ETI, the UK’s biggest alliance of businesses, trade unions and voluntary organisations, has recommended its members sign up to the accord.
Once more: “What Walmart are demanding is business as usual: a business that has cost lives of over 1,300 workers in the last six months alone.”
-Peter Gelderlos, Why Nonviolence Protects the State- Nonviolence is Racist (via tahlalaliaaa)
Note gelderloos is white and an activist who went to jail and learned a lot from within the system. Learned a lot from poc in prison and is pretty young too. I think he makes a lot of credits to poc and Black people make a large part of the biblio of this book from what I remember
people should really try to remember that when they generalize the south as uniformly made up of a bunch of homophobes that doing this erases, y’know, the existence of queer people in the south
and erasing queer people is
super homophobic (and…
I think about this a lot.
- Have a medical issue and no insurance. Nothing life threatening but something that could mean an ER visit.
- Ante up on that, be bleeding, be in major pain, know that you cannot miss work and you cannot afford drugs.
- Be prepared not to be treated or given a 1500$ aspirin.
- Injure yourself. Hurt you back or neck. Understand that you cannot take time off. You cannot get continual treatment. Deal with it.
- Have shady collections agencies calling where you work and your home threatening you when you know you have 20$ in the bank to last you for another week.
- Have 20$ and realize as your period starts you have no supplies and only ramen. Also continue to have to work.
- Deal with the emotional stress of debt, having to talk about that debt. Deal with the emotional stress of dealing with constant judgement from people who don’t know you. Deal with being talked shitty to if you buy a candy bar with your foodstamps because you just need enough energy to make it to your next meal.
- Buy something organic or “fancy” or “healthy” with your foodstamps and listen to what people in your neighborhood say about you.
- Deal with extensive awful coverage of people in your situation on the news and in print.
- Deal with the feelings of guilt when you cannot provide for yourself or a family. Even small things like a nice pair of tights vs a pair of knee highs from the dollar store.
- Go to a job interview in a shabby but clean outfit. Feel people look down their nose at you.
- Do your budget and understand that unless you pay a bill late, you will have no cash or money for small items for three weeks.
- Go without small items for three weeks.
I am so done with people trying to put themselves into the shoes of poor and vulnerable people and only understanding that they are hungry or thankful
Understand that when one is poor for a long time it goes so much deeper than having a shitty breakfast. It impacts EVERYTHING in your life. And if you do happen to get very depressed, or stressed there’s nothing you can do but keep working or trying to work because you want to survive.
If people want to know about these things so bad, how about shutting the fuck up about poor people and listening to what we have to say.
I hate, HATE bleeding heart tourism. If you need to know so bad ask and listen. You don’t get cookies for coming to the conclusion that the life you already have is nice and that being poor sucks.
I never even knew this and I’ve fed bread to ducks multiple times! D: Definitely reblog this so everyone knows!
Ive tried telling this to my mom and she wont believe me…
This is what’s happening on Venezuela right now. Please reblog to spread the word. We had a fraud on the presidential elections. People are getting killed for defending their rights. I know what happened in Boston is extremely horrible too and I am really sorry about that but maybe you can help us too. Please guys reblog this so the whole world can know the truth!
Right-wing extremists are also attacking public hospitals, at least one person has died.